Reel Reviews
Movie: “Straight A’s” Makes A Mark
July 18, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

There are films that leave a long lasting mark and then there are films that make a short impression. Straight A’s falls into the latter category, but that should not be a reason for you to not watch and enjoy the film.  

After hearing the voice of his dead mother, problem child Scott (Ryan Phillippe, Cruel Intentions) returns to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana and invites himself to stay over at his brother William’s (Luke Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums) house. Unfortunately, the only ones at home are Scott’s sister-in-law Katherine (Anna Paquin, HBO’s True Blood) and his young nephew and niece, Charles (Riley Thomas Stewart, The Lucky One) and Gracie (Ursula Parker, FX’s Louie). Now stuck somewhere he has run away from for years, Scott is forced to face his current demons and his past problems while trying to mend his previous mistakes with his family.

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A portrayal of family dysfunction and personal struggles, Straight A’s is an interesting movie although not incredibly creative. The film gives away its’ ending within the first five minutes in a voiceover, but the plot device is unnecessary as the ending is extremely obvious from the beginning. The plot unravels in a very basic way, but because all of the plot points are so obvious the film drags on and off; often you just wish that the film would move on and get to the point, as you know what it is anyway.

Character development moves quickly for each character, which is to be expected as the movie is quite short, and each actor does their role justice. Phillippe is impressive in playing the damaged and disturbed Scott and brings a pained emotional element to the role that connects with an audience well. Paquin is fine playing the former wild child turned unhappy housewife, but it just read as a toned down version of her Sookie Stackhouse character on True Blood; Wilson does not get a whole lot to do in the film, but he performs his scenes admirably. The two child actors, Stewart and Parker, both knock their performances out of the park and are extremely talented, holding their own with their adult counterparts.  

The film leaves something to be desired and lacks creativity, but if you are a fan of any of the actors involved it is an easy one to view.   

Straight A’s is rated R for language and some drug use and runs 88 minutes. It is currently available on Netflix Instant.